Friday, Dec. 09, 2022|
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If it seems as if Brett Komatsu is in the middle of every big UH-Hilo rally, well, there’s something to that.
Komatsu has a knack for getting on base, UH-Hilo coach Kallen Miyataki said.
He also has the advantage of batting in front of Casey Yamauchi.
Komatsu and Yamauchi, one from Hilo High and the other from Waiakea, keyed the Vulcans’ eighth win this season in which it took the lead in its final at-bat, and Tuesday’s 5-4 victory against Concordia in Irvine, Calif., might have been their biggest to date.
“It’s something that we needed to do,” Miyataki said.
UHH (19-9, 7-7 PacWest) avoided getting swept in the four-game series by tying the game in the seventh – the second game of the doubleheader was scheduled for seven – and forging ahead in the eighth as Miyataki turned to John Kea for 3 1/3 innings of relief.
“Kea was Kea,” Miyataki said after the senior right-hander improved to 5-1.
Losses on the rugged Southern California road trip can have a way of snowballing it a team isn’t careful, but UHH stopped this slide in its tracks.
“This is not your regular Concordia team,” Miyataki said. “Big, they have power and a lot pitching and are a force to be reckoned with. There is a reason they are ranked 20th in the nation.
“This gives us a little momentum heading to Biola.”
Trailing 4-3, Yamauchi, Joe Gallagher and Lucas Sakay bunched together singles to lead off the seventh against hard-throwing Eagles’s reliever Carpenter Pagett, who recovered nicely to strike out the side, stranding two runners.
In the top of the eighth, Mason Campbell’s single was erased on a double play, but Komatsu, the No. 9 hitter, reached on a bunt single and stole second. Back at the top of the order, Miyataki said Yamauchi fouled off numerous offerings before connecting on a liner to left that was misplayed for an error, allowing Komatsu to score.
“We had to make some adjustments,” Miyataki said.
Kea struck out the side in the eighth, allowing two hits, one run and two walks with four strikeouts. Miyataki credited starter Kyle Alcorn for getting through 4 2/3 innings.
Gallagher homered – his third – and Yamauchi, Sakay and Kekaulike Kalua also had two hits each.
The Eagles (12-9-1, 6-2) won the first game 6-2.
Starter Conor Meehan was injured in the fourth and had to leave the game. Eamon Valerde was the losing pitcher.
Kobie Russell was 3 for 4 and Sakay went 2 for 4.
The Vulcans open a four-game series at Biola on Friday.
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